Buyer Beware!

Like if this guide is helpful
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page

There are many pitfalls for the buyer of Salvation Army related items. Not everything is as it seems. Fake stamps, bogus covers, misdescribed items, misidentified postcards, printed autographs, the list just goes on and on. Here at the SA Historical & Philatelic Association we have experts in all fields of Salvation Army memorabilia and philately and now you can take advantage of that knowledge and expertise. If you are concerned about an item that you are considering bidding on or buying simply message us with the details and we will let you have an expert opinion usually within 48 hours.
Don't misunderstand what we are saying. Most misdescriptions and the like occur through lack of knowledge rather than a desire to deceive, although there is always the odd rogue seller out for a fast buck!
We are of course willing to assist sellers as well, so don't risk getting the description of your item wrong. Make sure that you give your item the best chance of selling with accurate details and a price that is fair. Simply message us the details, with a photo if possible, and we will give you a full description plus our estimate of value.
Sometimes though some very simple guidelines can help. Here are a few tips based on our observations over the years.
  • The Church Army has nothing to do with The Salvation Army. They are different organisations.
  • Not every band wearing peaked caps is a Salvation Army Band. Check the cap badges and the crest on the base drum.
  • There were no postmarks issued in the UK for the 140th. anniversary of The Salvation Army. Any such postmark is bogus.
  • Some questionable sellers add a cachet to a plain FDC after it has been postmarked. Compare the cachet with the date of the postmark, it is sometimes obviously newer than the actual cover.
  • Examine autographs very carefully. If it is very smooth and consistent in density it could well be printed rather than actually signed. Genuine autographs vary in both colour and density and if old often show signs of fading.
  • There are plenty of bogus stamps around, do your research. For example the USA has only issued one Salvation Army stamp, that for the 1965 Centenary. Anything else that looks like a USA Salvation Army stamp is bogus and has the status of a label.
  • Beware of private overprints on genuine stamps. These are nearly always unauthorised by the postal authority and should really be called defaced stamps.
With some postal authorities now pretty much printing stamps to order be aware that these issues will never gain catalogue status. They are usually commissioned by sellers purely for sale to collectors, although they are valid for postage in the issuing country.
Want to join the SAHPA? Just search for our page on Facebook. Membership is completely free and it's a great place to get all your questions answered. There are also many free guides, like our guide to fake and bogus Salvation Army philately, which are all free to members. About the only thing you can't do is sell stuff, we use Ebay for that!
Happy Ebaying!
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides